NDP MP Leah Gazan (Winnipeg Centre) wrote a letter to the Minister of Public Safety last Wednesday (February 22nd), proposing a new alert for missing indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit individuals.
The Red Dress Alert would work similarly to the Amber Alert for abducted children.
“This is obviously an issue that hits home in our region in a big way given the tragic history of the Highway of Tears and given how many families in our region have had their loved ones go missing or been murdered along our highway corridor,” said Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach.
“If you look at the statistics, we know that Indigenous women, in particular, experience much higher rates of violence and are much more vulnerable to the kind of situations that we’ve seen along the highway in the past.”
He added the new system would complement the existing efforts put forward by the RCMP and community support agencies who respond when persons go missing.
“This is something that is just so traumatic for everyone involved, especially the family members. The more tools that we can bring to bear in searching for these members of our community, I believe, the better.”
The proposal ties into the national inquiry on murdered and missing indigenous women and girls, according to Bachrach, adding the importance of the other recommendations in the report.
“Unfortunately, we’ve seen slow progress from the federal government and accelerating progress on implementing every single one of those calls for justice is a high priority for those of us in the House of Commons.”
A news release from the NDP said 90 percent of Ontario Amber Alerts led to the safe recovery of children and that police removed 60 percent of missing adult reports in 2021 within 24 hours.